Lists of example shift patterns

Continuous or 24/7 shiftworking systems cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We sell lists of example shift patterns (rosters, rotas) for standard 24/7 shiftworking. Please contact us for prices. The lists are available in the following formats:

  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
  • Microsoft Word document
  • RotaBase (a database of rotas or shift patterns that can be opened by our two software products, RotaBase and RotaView)


If your requirement is for a constant number of staff (ie. a team)  to be rostered 24/7 then there are two common ways of achieving this:

  • 4 teams
  • 5 teams


The traditional way is to use 4 teams  but 5 teams has become increasingly common, either within  annualised hours agreements, which typically have rostered or partially-rostered holiday, or using a "float" or "reserve" team to cover holiday, sickness, training and operational requirements.  We have example shift patterns (rotas, rosters) based on:

  • 8 hour shifts
  • 12 hour shifts
  • mix of 8 and 12 hour shifts - typically, 12 hour shifts are  rostered at the weekend, to maximise weekends off, and 8 hour shifts during the week.  


Features found in some of the examples:

  • full rotation of shifts within each working block ("continental" style)
  • alternating blocks of the same shift.
  • range of working shift block sizes
  • range of rest day break lengths (note that as the average working block length increases so does the average rest day breaks)
  • long breaks (for those requiring rostered holiday)
  • "float" ("reserve", "spare", "absence cover") shifts (sometimes used in 5-team systems)


Other ways of providing a constant number of staff (ie. a team) 24/7 include:

  • 4.5 teams
  • 6 teams


The 4.5 team system is essentially based on 9 half-teams. The composition of a team might vary from one shift to another which has implications on supervisory cover and skill mixes. However, it is sometimes used as an alternative to the 4-team system since it is based on a lower average number of hours per week of 37.3 compared with 42  (assuming one team is rostered 24/7, mealbreaks are paid and there are no handovers between shifts).

6 teams are often used when there is a need for some additional operational cover - in other words, more than one team is required on certain shifts or days of the week. Also, these systems are often used within annualised hours agreements.

How many teams?

Essentially, shift patterns for 24/7 continuous shiftworking can be based on any number of teams from 3 upwards depending on requirements. The shift pattern examples described above are used when there is a flat requirement of one team 24/7. However, the demand may vary through the week and this will be one of the factors affecting the number of teams needed. Note that, in some cases a team might just consist of one person. If you email us your requirements we can provide you with advice and give you a quote for devising some example shift patterns.